Q+A with Scott Chenoweth


**Name, Age, Occupation, Place of Residence?**

Scott Chenoweth, 33 Art Director of What Youth and Madewest Brewing Co.


**How were you introduce to Art + Design?**

I was always drawing as a kid, could never get away from it. Didn't matter if it was on walls, books, homework anything. I was lucky and my parents let me go with it, helping me out where they could.


**Did you go to School for Art + Design. if so Where and was it beneficial for you? **

Yeah, I took airbrush and drawing classes when i was real young, like 11 then ended up drawing my way through high school. A lot of my teachers let me draw things for them instead of turning in reports. I had a science teacher that let me draw him new slides for his human skeleton lectures and passed the class without ever having to do a normal assignment. Then I went to Pasadena Art Center for Illustration and learned so much it was crazy. The best lesson I learned there though was straight up work ethic. Work your ass off and never slow down or you'll fall off.


**What was your first job?**

First Job i had was dishwasher at a sushi bar in Ventura, it was pretty sick but i got tired of smelling like fish guts every night so i quit and started airbrushing boards for Robert's Surfboards from high school through college. After college it was into the ad department at DC Shoes.


**Do you approach your art different from your graphic design? **

Definitely. My art is lighthearted, imperfect and kinda goofy. But I approach design with a much more rigid / perfectionist approach. That shit needs to line up and be clean and look good and the photos need to sing and the type needs to compliment.


**Who are some of your favorite artists and graphic designers?**

Rauschenberg, Rothko, Steeve Powers, DeKooning, Goya, Francis Bacon.


**What is your go to Font?**

Trade Gothic. It's so damn versatile and been on my palate since the good ol Surfing Magazine days. It was the font we used for captions back then and it stuck.


**What was your experience like working at Surfing Magazine?**

So sick, full dream job. I couldn't believe when I got the call up. Worked there for almost 6 years with the best crew ever. Press Gang. I got to learn so much about design, typography and grasp an understanding of how people view print. You can't think of a magazine as a painting or picture, its a full flick through piece, the reader is on the page for a couple seconds at best unless the photo is crazy. How do you capture them and bring em into reading the story? That was the question we had to try and answer every issue. It's not easy.


**What is it like to have full creative freedom of WhatYouth?**

It's scary and awesome at the same time. The first time you don't have a boss is so weird cause there is no right answer, no one to tell you no, no one to question your choice. You just have to go with your gut and put things out there.


**When did you first make the decision to become an artist? **

Ha! When i was like 5. I told my mom my i was either going to be an artist or an ice cream truck driver. I had it pretty figured out.


**What is your favorite magazine outside of surfing and skating?**

Blend. Their art director is crazy. She takes so many leaps of faith and doesn't give a fuck. Or at least it comes off that way. The design is so smart it takes a few flip throughs to start to get what she's done. She hides a lot of stuff in there that's super rewarding when you find it.


**Has being a surfer influenced the way you approach art?**

I think its that fuck it attitude you get as a grom at the beach every day that influences it. Dropped off at 9, picked up at 5 every day in the summer. You just kinda learn what it's like to be free and do your own thing and I think that's super relatable to art. You have to be confident to be on your own and do your own thing. There's no right or wrong in either, you just do what makes you psyched.


**How do you stay inspired to keep producing art + design?**

Seeing bad shit. There's so much garbage out there in art and design and it makes me so bummed. But at the same time, so motivated. i never want to make something that's bad, i want to work my ass off so I don't make those same mistakes i see all over.


**Do you ever get in a creative slump?**

Sometimes, but their pretty easy to kick. Sometimes it just takes a walk around the neighborhood or moving to a different room to shake the stagnancy.


**Coffee or Beer?**

Coffee to work, beer to unwind.


**Did living in New York have an impact on you creatively?**

Big time. I got introduced to so much foreign print and design over there. i would spend hours and hours at the newsstands going through these obscure Scandinavian fashion mags. There's so much sick shit going on in print and you can't find it in California. Not to mention everyone there is pretty cued into culture and stuff going on so you kinda have to pay attention just to keep up.


**How did WhatYouth come to be?**

Long story, but the short of it is, we wanted to get into web stuff and make videos and a nicer magazines less frequently. The print model at Surfing Magazine couldn't support that, they had subscribers and tradition to uphold. We wanted to try something new cause we were literally watching the shift from print to web happen and we were excited about it, not grumpy that things were changing. We wanted to change too and figure out this new tool. It was so strange to me that everyone in print seemed so threatened by the internet. What Youth would never be able to exist without the web, not to mention the global reach, 2015 is crazy.


**How have the past few years been since starting WhatYouth?**

Non stop. It takes so much energy to do your own thing, solve countless problems and to try and be creative at the same time. But it's super rewarding. To not have to answer to anyone, not check in on a project, run shit by people. It's all on your shoulders and it moves so fast. Which is exactly why its so scary too, no one else to blame if things go wrong.


**Where do you pull inspiration from?**

Books, zines, the internet, walking outside, drinking cocktails at bars.


**Do you have anything else going on outside of WhatYouth?**

Yeah, I'm in the process of helping some friends launch a new brewery in Ventura called Madewest. It's so sick to do something outside of surf, such a different market. And the design in the craft beer world is all over the place. I can't wait to get into it and introduce some new aesthetics to that world. And the beer is amazing so that helps too.


Instagram / @scottchenoweth


*Interview by Kenny Hurtado